Zack: My short life as a hallway wanderer

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“No longer to be poisoned by civilization, he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild,” – Christopher McCandless 

McCandless fled from his promising life as a college-grad to live his life as a vagabond.  Similarly, during any given bell at Mariemont High School, one can look out into the halls and see people with the same mindset. A world free from the reign of teachers and filters, where one can choose where they want to go and what they want to do. That is the life of a hallway wanderer.

I chose to become a hallway wander for a week and report on my learnings.

A loud shriek comes from the supposedly serene study space followed by a crowd of laughter.  The scream came from senior Patrick Mileham during fourth bell. He, along with Andrew Sizer and Connor Dougherty, were traversing the halls equipped with two cameras.

They were in the middle of filming a scene from their feature short entitled The Legend of Natter: Twilight Prince. “Mr. Valentine gave us the cameras and permission to go film,” said Dougherty, who is also the director of the film.

The trio decided to use the new study space as their set because “it’s quiet and has good lighting,” said Sizer.

I made my way to the English hall, and again, crossed paths with film makers.

Sizer, on his phone, strolling through the hall during fourth bell (PHOTO BY ZACK).

Sizer, on his phone, strolling through the hall during fourth bell (PHOTO BY ZACK).

This time it was AJ Walter, Ellie Long, and Shelby Cresie who were filming outside. They were filming for a scene in their video recreation of Sophocles’ Antigone.  The scene depicts Walter trying to brutally kill Long with a stick, like when Haemon tries to kill his father, King Creon.

Long and Cresie said that Mr. Weiss had given them permission to go film outside his classroom, but Walter said differently. “Well, I kind of just told him we were going to film in the hall, he’d probably be mad if he knew we were outside,” said Walter.

I was still yet to meet a real hallway wanderer, as both of these groups were wandering the halls with a purpose. This made me think, maybe I am the wanderer…  I was in search for someone who I hadn’t found, until I came across senior Scott Overbey.

Overbey was walking nonchalantly down the stairs coming from the history hall and towards the Hall of Fame.  He was on his phone, scrolling through Instagram. He said that he was coming from AP Government and going to the bathroom. “Mr. Wolfford said we had a free bell to work on whatever we wanted,” said Overbey. “So I’m working on emptying my bladder.”

I met several students who all claimed to be going to the bathroom.  Sophomore Gabe Hartnett, Juniors Jacob Van Lieu and Courtney Robinson, along with seniors Santi Martinez and Andrew Sizer — Sizer became a suspect; this was the second time I had seen him during fourth bell.

All my wandering and all I had was a list of movie makers and bathroom users, not very interesting.

Then I hit the jackpot.  Sophomore Demetrius Fountain, a notorious hallway wanderer.  He was very open to talking about his wandering.

Fountain claims that he wanders almost every bell. “Class can get very overwhelming and I need a break sometimes,” said Fountain.

He has the art down to a science. “I limit myself to 5-10 minutes in the halls, otherwise the teacher will get suspicious,” said Fountain. He will use his time in the halls to visit the restroom, the drinking fountain, converse with other wanderers, and make sure to take a little more time than necessary when heading back to class.

“I don’t see it as a big deal. It’s how I get through my day,” said Fountain. “I always come back before the bell ends.”